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Fri December 3, 2010
Papers of Civil Rights Icon Coming To UK
By Alan Lytle
Lexington, KY – Kentucky's first African American and woman to hold a seat in the State Senate has received a high honor from the University of Kentucky. At a ceremony Friday, the university announced plans for a Georgia Powers Endowed Chair in the Center for Research on Violence Against Women. The position will focus on multicultural studies of violence as they pertain to women of color. Powers calls it the ultimate honor of her lifetime.
"I've never looked for honors or awards, because what I did, was not for that purpose. But it was to help people and I tell people all the time, you create your own legacy daily by what you do for others. And when you think about others, that takes your mind off of self'. So that was my theory, and I still believe that."
In addition to the endowed chair, the university has received more than 2,000 newspaper clippings, manuscripts, speeches, and oral history interviews that detail Ms. Powers role in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's and 70's. During Friday's press announcement, Senator Powers was asked to characterize what she thought of the state of race relations today.
"I was hoping we'd go forward, but I believe we've gone backwards. Because when I hear people say I want to take back my country', in the first place it's not just your country. And that indicates to me you want to go back where we were years ago. Well I'm not willing to go back and I don't think anybody else is willing to go back as far as I know; especially people who have been discriminated against, and lived during the segregated years. I just don't think we're going to do that. As I've always said, I will fight to the end of my life to for equality of all people. So, I still feel that way."
Powers served in the Kentucky Legislature from 1968 to 1989, representing the Louisville area.